Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said the company will recognize the union formed by Raven Software's QA workers and start negotiations with it.
Activision Blizzard appears to be ready to enter negotiations with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) within which a group of quality assurance workers at Raven Software has recently formed a union. The news comes from an internal email from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick that was shared as an open letter on the company's website.
The union was formed on May 23, 2022, when QA workers at Raven Software successfully voted to join the Game Workers Alliance (GWA), becoming the first union at a major US game studio. The employees managed to unionize despite Activision Blizzard not recognizing the organization.
On June 10, Bobby Kotick told in a letter to employees that the company recognizes the union and will begin negotiations with its representatives to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.
"I wanted to share the news that we will begin negotiations with the Communications Workers of America related to the 27 quality assurance employees at Raven Software, the majority of whom have chosen to be represented by this union," Kotick wrote. "With the election having concluded, we will engage in good faith negotiations to enter into a collective bargaining agreement."
Kotick emphasized that this process may take some time, but Activision Blizzard is fully prepared for negotiations. He also reminded in the letter that since 2020, the company has been improving the conditions for QA specialists saying that, among other things, it raised the minimum wage for QA specialists, transferred more than 1,100 temporary employees to full-time jobs, and expanded benefits for testers.
Earlier, in an internal all-hands meeting with Xbox Game Studios employees, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer stated that the company would recognize Raven Software’s union once the deal to purchase Activision Blizzard is completed.
"Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place," Spencer said. "We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company."
Raven Software's QA staff announced the formation of a union with the Communication Workers of America back in January 2022, although, at the time, Activision Blizzard refused to voluntarily recognize it. This was followed by a statement, in which the company's representatives said that they could not reach an agreement with the union, although the company "deeply [respects] the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union."
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